Lukashenko reminded of himself in CIS information space
The main goal of Lukashenko’s speech was to produce a positive information impact in the mass media of the CIS countries, which will be chaired by Belarus from 2013. It is also likely that Lukashenko had as a separate goal to determine the scheduled for the following day address of Russian President Putin to the Federal Assembly.
On 11 December, Aleksander Lukashenko met with the members of the Club of editors-in-chief of the CIS media, the Baltic States and Georgia. The event took place in the framework of the 7th annual European and Asian Media Forum which took place in Minsk on 10-12 December.
The genre of the event-answers to the questions - predetermined also the nature of Lukashenko’s address. As far as the content is concerned, it turned out to be eclectic. Therefore, it should be assumed that the main purpose of this meeting was to create a PR effect in the broad information space of the CIS. Besides, President Lukashenko probably wished to get to this information field a day before President of the Russian Federation Putin, who on 12 December delivered his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow.
In particular, Lukashenko in his responses separately underlined that he sees at the basis of his policy the strengthening of the morality and spirituality in the society, and he said that he wished to build socialism in Belarus along the example of France. On the following day President Putin expressed very similar ideas in his address about the social state and the role of values in the development of the society.
From the statements made by Lukashenko, the support of Kazakhstan on the issue of the formation of a single Euro-Asian Parliament presents the greatest interest: Lukashenko spoke against the creation of this body and demonstrated that Minsk could agree with Astana and together ignore the political interest of Moscow. Thus, the political initiative of Russia to create an Euro-Asian Parliament will be frozen for an indefinite time.
Lukashenko neither gave any reason for speculations about an early resolution of the conflict with the EU and the U.S. The President accused the West of applying the double standards, of an attempt to change in Belarus the constitutional order and to conduct the privatization of the state property in the interest of their business. Finally, Lukashenko once again rejected the suspicion of preparing a successor and made it clear that he would not leave his post.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.